Monday, December 20, 2010


incase you've forgotten.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Eating


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. if something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. as for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple
, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read these tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

traditions, take 3

Last one. promise. We only have a few traditions of our own.

#1 We tag our tree on Black Friday, then cut it down a week or so later. This ensures that we get a good tree ;-) But I really don't want it up for over a month.

#2 On Christmas Eve, Isabel gets to open one gifts--her Christmas PJs.

#3 We buy Isabel an ornament each year. We try to do something that represents her and her current fascinations. This year, her ornament is a......?

#4 We buy an ornament each year from our vacation spot. This year's ornament, is a.......?

Can anyone guess??? If you guess both correctly, I will package and deliver 4 gourmet cupcakes to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

traditions, take 2

I love traditions and hope our family establishes many of our own. As a kid we

#3 Drove around Joppatowne after our church's Christmas Eve service to look at all the lights and luminaries. What a fun time together as a family, enjoying the decorated neighborhoods.

#4 Always put out milk and cookies for Santa, even though we KNEW Santa was our dad. And "Santa" always wrote us a note of thanks in return.

#5 Went to the Nutcracker with Granny. Usually, it was just me, because Sacha couldn't sit still. I got all dressed up, Granny would pick me up, and we'd drive into the city. I can still remember how magical it was sitting in those red velvet seats, watching the dancers, hearing the orchestra and feeling like there was nothing quite as amazing.


I have a horrible memory. I rarely remember what was said in an argument, so I fight horribly. I don't remember to put food away after dinner, so end up having to throw it away in the morning. And, I really do not have very many memories of my childhood. I wish I was joking. BUT, I figured I would *try* to share some of our family holiday traditions. Hopefully they are real, and not just a recreation of my barely-working-memory.

#1-We always did the chocolate advent calendars. You know, the ones that have horrible milk chocolate in them. You find the number, open the door, and choke down the candy? Well, my grandfather always made his own chocolate at Christmas time. So we received the best tasting, hand painted chocolates in our advent calendar. And usually a solid chocolate lollipop to go with it. and chocolate covered cherries.

#2-handmade everything. My mom was incredibly crafty, as were my grandmothers. And I wish I had've cared enough to learn their skills. We had cute little snowmen laying around. A felt advent calendar. Wonder if my dad still has it so I don't have to cut all those pieces out?! amazing cookies coming out the wazoooo. Cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. stockings carefully beaded. Christmas cards stamped, embossed, and signed.

How about you? What traditions do you love from your childhood?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

not in my kitchen

There are a few holiday cookies that I simply cannot handle: those jelly thumbprints. russian tea cakes. and even hard, flaky sugar cookies.

How about you? what is your least favorite Christmas cookie?

Monday, December 06, 2010

holiday icing

This is not a family tradition. nor is it a recipe I've even made before. BUT, this holiday, I am going to make two types of coffee-infused chocolate cupcakes with these icings:

Irish Cream Icing
1 pound confections sugar (4C)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or other Irish cream)

Cream butter. Add Irish cream and beat until combined. add sugar and beat until fluffy. If too thick, you can thin it with more Irish cream, water or milk, your choice.

Peppermint Buttercream Icing
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup peppermint candy (about 7 peppermint sticks), finely crushed

Cream butter. Add peppermint candy (or save for later and sprinkle on top, like I"m going to do). Add confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and peppermint extract. Beat until well incorporated. Increase speed and beat until fluffy. If too stiff, add more milk or water.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ok, so this isn't exactly a holiday dessert. But we consider it a side dish, anyway. That's how we Tureks roll.

Ma's S.P.S.
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute; can reduce amount if desired)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (low fat)
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping (low fat)
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix (sugar-free is fine)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Baking

What would this blog be without a recipe or two?! So, the next few weeks, I am going to try and post some of my favorite family festive food recipes. and try not to use annoying alliteration. This week, in honor of my grannies, I will be posting two holiday classics passed down from them.

The first is a classic Lithuanian cookie called "Moon Cookies." As a kid, I was never fond of them. at all. then two years ago, I realized just how good they really are. amazing that adulthood brings about a more refined palate. Apparently, they are traditionally given to others as a token of generosity and thanks. Granny always gave them in a tin, with layers separated by wax paper.

Granny's Moon Cookies

6 oz. chocolate bits
½ cup English walnuts
¾ cup butter
7/8 cup of sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 3/8 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 10x15x½-inch jelly roll pan. Grind chocolate bits and walnuts to a powder in a food processor or coffee grinder. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg yolks, nuts and chocolate powder, mix.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then lightly fold in the flour (do not over mix). Spread batter evenly in the well-greased pan (batter will be about ¼–½-inch thick). Bake until lightly browned (10–15 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean).

While cookies are baking, make the frosting

2 tablespoons butter
½ pound confectioners sugar
drops of rum (or vanilla extract if you prefer)
1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed

Cream butter and sugar together in a small bowl. Flavor with drops of extract or rum to taste. Add milk, using more if needed to make frosting creamy, but not runny. Set aside.

Spread frosting on warm cookies so frosting soaks in a bit, but forms a nice glaze. Cool completely. Use a thin-edged glass or deep 2¾-inch cutter, to cut crescent moon shapes. Start at one corner and cut one "full moon," then move over about ½-inch to cut a crescent moon. Continue until each row is finished.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Some thoughts on thanks.

Famine once we had,
But other things God gave us in full store,
As fish & ground-nuts, to supply our strait,
That we might learn on Providence to wait;
& know, by bread man lives not in his need,
But by each word that doth from God proceed,
But a while after plenty did come in,
From his hand only who doth pardon sin.
& all did flourish like the pleasant green,
Which in the joyful spring is to be seen.
- W. Bradford
Psalm 136
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2 years

Two years. As a teenager, those years seemed to crawl by. As a college student, the pace picked up. And now, as a wife and mother, I feel like I blinked and the last two years disappeared. It's amazing to look back and see the changes that 24 months have brought. A daughter. A lost job. A change in financial stability. A new job. A new church and new relationships. A summer at the beach. A loss of both Grannys. WOW. So much change.

Change. No more screaming at 3am (ok, every once in a while). No more poop blowouts (thank God!). No more bottles (and almost no more sippy cups). No more bouncers, swings, or exersaucers.

A lot of laughs. A lot of talking (is she ever quiet??). A lot of reading. A lot of pigtails. A lot of silly clothing choices. A lot of tickles. A lot of crayons and stickers.

I want to cherish this time, since I fear the next two years will disappear even faster. I love you Eesee Girl.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I like to cook, like to bake. but am famous for mishaps, both irredeemable and salvageable, in the kitchen. yesterday, for example--

**I forgot to put vanilla in my cake. Good thing it's carrot and you can't tell one bit.
**I ran out of foil, and needed to cover my dish for baking.
**I ran out of cinnamon mid-recipe so had to zest a cinnamon stick (does that even work?!).
**I am pretty sure that Miguel and Isabel have eaten more than their fare share of icing, so most likely, I will be short on that, too!
**My cake was too big for the fridge. I have no more room in the fridge and need to put in 2 lasagnas and a huge bowl of salsa. hmmm....can't fix that one!

How about you, any good kitchen antics of late?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

all wet

To follow Danielle's example, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on all that I'm grateful for this week. I feel like I have been in a season of extended trial, hardship and anxiety. It would be easy for me to sit and examine every event, every relationship through that lens. I want to make sure that I am stepping back and seeing the good in even the simple. SO, here's proof that I can rejoice in the midst of flooded basement:

1. A water leak that happened in the basement, so we don't have to worry about wet drywall.
2. A handy husband who quickly directed me in water clean-up.
3. An amazing aunt who drove 2 hours, just to drop off 3 huge fans and a dehumidifier.
4. The chance to purge (since we had to relocate just about everything, why not throw stuff away?!)
5. Realizing that my husband is incredibly calm under stress; I am not. What an example for me to follow.

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


It's not often that I browse websites just to browse. It causes me to want things I can't have, and become discontent with what I do have. BUT, I happened upon Petunia Pickle Bottom, and well.....I WANT one of each. Weekender, clutch, sling, yellow, red, brown, doesn't matter. They are gorgeous.... if I had $350 to spare, I'd snatch one up!
What fun finds have you stumbled upon lately?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

tasty Tuesday...errrr...

...something like that. How about a recipe? are you really surprised?!

Tex-Mex Chicken with Chiles and Cheese
1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
3-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 medium jalapeño, seeded if desired and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2–3 medium limes, 1 or 2 juiced to yield 3 Tbs. and 1 cut into wedges
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess.

Melt 2-1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, the corn, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the corn begins to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken, lime juice, oregano, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and transfer the skillet to the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and browns on top, about 3 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

**Fine cooking suggests serving this over rice. We used whole wheat tortillas and used this as the filling. SO good, it will definitely replace our regular "taco" recipe.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I love free stuff, especially free movie rentals. Do you have BlockBusterExpress near you? It's like RedBox, only blue. If so, rent a movie for free using the code


What little things are you enjoying this week?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

food love?!

Since my blog IS titled "Book Love" and I have not written a single thing about reading, or books, or anything other than food for that matter....I guess a book review is in order. This summer I read a bunch of fluff, for fun, on purpose. So nothing to review from the summer, unless of course you enjoy Jodi Piccoult.

I started the fall with "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee. Sadly, this gem somehow missed my middle/high school reading lists. I can honestly say that the book's title is perhaps one of the most apt, well thought out titles of any book I've read. The image it carries is both beautiful and heart-wrenching. I can just imagine the great discussions my senior class would've had on this book: racism, courtroom justice, defense of innocence.

Upon numerous recommendations (and my bookclubs' September reading), I borrowed "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson. I was looking forward to, well, I honestly had no idea what the book was about, nor that it was originally written in Swedish and translated to English. But, what I did find was a boring, way-too-detailed introduction that lasted almost 100 pages. By page 150, I was convinced that this was going to be a page turner. And boy was it. The tedious introduction all made sense; each detail was purposefully woven into the plot. I loved that it turned into a mystery, when the beginning had no hints of such. I must say, there were far too many characters to keep track of. Too many resolutions of subplots that were forgotten about 50 pages before. And, though I greatly enjoyed the book (and have since moved on to the sequel), there were detailed, gruesome portrayals of torture, incest, and rape. Be warned.

Now, if I can only push through the first 25 pages of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and finish it by next Saturday. What have you been reading lately?

Monday, October 11, 2010

lasagna alternative

In college, I took a health class and went through a weird vegetarian stage. I say weird, because I was so uneducated, that all I ate were salads and beans and cheese pizzas. Ha. My granny bought me "Betty Crocker's Vegetarian Cooking" and I only tried a few recipes at the time. Recently, I have started using the cook book again. I tried the lasagna primavera and loved it. Miguel's comment was "it could use some meat." HA!

12 uncooked lasagna noodles
3 cups frozen broccoli cuts, thawed and well drained
3 large carrots, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, well drained

1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese--part skim
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 jars (10 oz each) Alfredo pasta sauce--I used Classico's new "light" sauce
1 package (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (4 cups)--I used maybe 3C lowfat mozzarella

Print these coupons...

About Concordance™

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook and drain noodles as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, if necessary, cut broccoli florets into bite-size pieces. In large bowl, mix broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers. In small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg.
  3. In ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, spread 2/3 cup Alfredo sauce. Top with 4 noodles. Spread half of the cheese mixture and 2 1/2 cups of the vegetables over noodles. Spoon 2/3 cup sauce in dollops over vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
  4. Top with 4 noodles; spread with remaining cheese mixture and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables. Spoon 2/3 cup sauce in dollops over vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining 4 noodles and the vegetables. Spoon remaining sauce in dollops over vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered 45 to 60 minutes or until bubbly and hot in center. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cupcake Review #3

This sweets eating thing has GOT to stop. I mean it. For real this time. No more. So, this review is going to have to hold me over until at least next week.

Today, I ventured with two friends to a new cupcakery in Havre de Grace. Sweet Devotion just opened in the last month, so I wasn't sure what to expect, especially considering it sits right on Rt. 40. The atmosphere was charming, and felt a bit reminiscent of Panera--overstuffed leather couches, a fireplace (NO it was not on). I would go back just to sit, drink coffee, eat a cupcake (or two), and enjoy the cafe. I had planned to order two cupcakes and walked out with six. Here's what I ordered and what I thought.
(The Red Velvet never made it home, and the others...well, I forgot to snap a picture before I took a few nibbles)

Salted Caramel: The presentation was pretty, but the cupcake/filling/frosting combination was way too sweet. Miguel and I chose not to finish it

PB: This was a chocolate cake with a mini-Reese's cup baked into the middle, a peanut butter frosting with a mini-Reese's cup on top. I thought this had a great balance of flavors, not too sweet. But it would have been better with a softer pb center instead of the cup.

Boston Cream: The vanilla cake was super moist. The cream filling was delicate, though could have used a bit more of it. The chocolate ganache was good, but honestly needed a little sweetness added to it.

Red Velvet: I love red velvet, and this was fantastic. It was simple, not a lot of frosting, perfect!

Sweet Devotion is well worth a visit. Next time, I think I'll try the crepes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake Review #2

Yesterday, a friend (a true friend, I might add) brought me not one, not two, but FOUR cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake. She just happened to be in that neighborhood, and just happened to ask if I'd like a sample box. Would I like a sample box?! Rhetorical question, I'm sure. There is much hype around the shop, as the store is now featured as a TLC show. I wondered if the cupcakes were as good as I'd heard. Could they really be "out of this world," "ridiculous," "worth the 2 hour drive"??? Well, yes, my friends, they are all those things and more. Here is a list of what I tasted, and my reactions.
Key Lime: Frosting was a light and fluffy buttercream, but not overly sweet. The cake could have used a bit of graham in it. Overall, loved loved it.

PB Fudge: WOW. Chocolate cake with a pb frosting, and a surprise chocolate lava filling. PB frosting wasn't too sweet or too rich. Heavenly.

Caramel Apple: This was good. just good. It was a bit much for me. The apple cake would have been good on its own with a small dollop of cream cheese frosting. The caramel filling and cream cheese frosting together were too rich.

Chocolate Squared: Chocolate cake dipped in chocolate ganache. Quite tasty, and I will be trying the recipe that was posted here. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the cake was moist and the ganache was a perfect complement.

If you just HAPPEN to be in that neighborhood, you should wander in, wait the two hours to place your order, and bring me back a sample box. Next on my cupcake to-do list.....sample and review Sweet Devotion Cupcakes next week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cupcake Review #1

I have a new passion for cupcakes. I love that they are the perfect portion. I love that they can be easily stored in the fridge if need be. I love that they are easy to fill and frost. I love that they satisfy my sweet tooth and I'm not tempted to "cut just a sliver" more.

So, when I heard about Fresh Bakery in Towson Town Center, I was beyond excited. A friend and I planned an outing around cupcakes. Trader Joes first, shoes next, cupcakes last. What could be a more perfect day. All we knew was that the cupcake place was new and on the 2nd level. We got off the escalators and saw a kiosk full of cupcakes. First impression: WHO sells cupcakes out of a kiosk?!? Definitely not a professional way to market and sell cupcakes. Cell phones or cheap jewelry out of a moving cart, sure. Edibles, I think not. There was no one manning the kiosk, so we weren't able to ask if there was a storefront-which is highly unlikely. So it left us wondering where (and frankly when) the cupcakes were made. They looked cute enough, and as we browsed the cupcakes, the "Martha's Vineyard" strawberry-on-strawberry cupcakes caught my eye. YUM, strawberry flecks in the icing. Or was it a fruit fly? Yup, upon further inspection, there were fruit flies buzzing around the cupcakes behind the glass.

Lovely, we promptly left, quite disappointed. Someone will be hearing from me shortly.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


chivalry is surely not dead. as much as I hear people hem and haw over "kids these days," I saw the sweetest gesture of masculinity today.

A teenage boy and girl were walking on the shoulder of Tollgate Road today as I was driving by. The girl was walking closer to the traffic (too close for comfort), with the boy next to the sidewalk. As I drove by, the boy gently pulled her shirt sleeve and made her walk on the other side of him, as he took the spot closer to traffic.

It reminded me of an era where men held doors open for women, no matter who they were; would gladly open a car door for a woman no matter what the weather; paid for a date, no matter what number date it was. ah, the good ol' days.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

free... a good home. This machine needs minor repairs (I dropped a straight pin down into it, so it jams every once in a while. Nothing a cheap repair at Bel Air Sew/Vac can't fix), but other wise is in great condition. It has 4 bobbins, the original owners' manual, and a case. If you're interested, we can arrange delivery!! It was my Granny's machine, and I now have my mom's, so no need for two.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Summer is almost over and I have not:

Had good grilled chicken, or steak, or anything
Had a snowball
Gone on vacation
Had a huge cookout with friends

I have:
Eaten crabs more times than I can count
Had ice cream almost every night
Gone to the beach just about every day for the last 3 months
Had large family dinners, thanks to my partner-in-crime, Uncle Bubba

What have been some of your summer favorites?

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I enjoy my sweets. Love them actually, especially anything with buttercream icing. These just about put me over the edge. Good just doesn't describe them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we all did!

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes (a bit time intensive, but more than worth it, trust me):

Graham Cracker Crust:

Prepare two muffin pans with liners.

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4-6 T melted unsalted butter

In a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add 5 T melted butter. Pulse a few times. If it seems like it needs more butter add the remaining T. Distribute evenly among cupcake liners and press to form a shell.

Lime Cake

2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 T baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 egg whites
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup milk
½ cup buttermilk
1 T lime zest (I omitted this, to keep the cupcakes from becoming too lime-y)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add egg whites, beating well after each addition. Add eggs, beating well after each addition.

Add lime zest, if using. Beat until blended.

Combine milk, vanilla, and buttermilk in a small bowl together. Whisk until incorporated.

With electric mixer at low speed, add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Best to use a ice cream scoop. Place right on top of the graham cracker crust. (I had enough extra batter to fill a 9x5" loaf pan. baked for 30 min)

Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on rack.

Key Lime Pie Filling

8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (I'm sure cream cheese would work as well)
5 oz key lime juice
9 oz sweetened condensed milk (this is such an odd amount. I used almost a full can (14oz))

Place all ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and blend for 2 minutes.
Place in a separate bowl and place in fridge for 2 hours.

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 lb. shortening (Crisco)
2 lbs. powdered sugar
3-4 TBSP key lime juice, and most likely more to thin out frosting

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Cream together with Crisco.

Add 4 cups of the sugar and key lime juice.
On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.
If too thick, thin with more key lime juice. You can also use more lime juice if you want a more tart flavor. But remember you already have lime in the filling.

To assemble:

Take key lime pie filling and place into a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Take tip and place into cupcake squeeze filling into cupcake using the cone method (search on google if not sure). Frost cupcake (there will be a ton left over, so eat it with a spoon) and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Uses...

...For old things:

Crisco is my new best friend. Butter cream icing is, unfortunately, so rich and creamy because of Crisco. And now, my heels will soon be smooth and crack-free. Slather Crisco onto poorly maintained heels, throw on a thick pair of socks, and let the Crisco work its magic. Repeat as necessary until heels are restored to health.

What new uses for old things do you have?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

girlie girl

Isabel has officially become a girlie girl.

She now says "EWWWWWW" for anything and everything that she doesn't like, isn't pretty, she thinks might be gross....

This morning, she protested one outfit because she'd already seen another that she preferred. She managed to insist on the green dress instead of the black flowered one. Who knew an 18 month old had such strong clothing preferences?!

Friday, July 09, 2010


Random tasks I love:
1. Paying my bills via on-line banking.
2. Cleaning out all the gum wrappers from the bottom of my purse.
3. Crossing off "yesterday" in my planner.
4. Writing my To-Do list in my planner...and crossing off the finished items.
5. Cleaning out the fridge-dumping old leftovers that we forgot to eat and scrubbing the shelves with some sort of heavy duty cleaner.

How about you?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's day

For Father's Day, our entire family went to the Iron Bird's game. No one watched a single minute, because we were too busy enjoying each other. I love all the memories we are making together as an extended family.

Dad and me.
Dada and Isabel.
Kate, me, Becky, Sacha and Laura. All the girl cousins.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

book review

I know, I know. The blog is called "Beach Love" and I'm writing a book review. A girl can wander off topic a bit, can't she?! One thing I absolutely love about the summer, is the endless amount of time I seem to find to read. Don't know where it comes from (or what chores are left undone), but I'm not going to think about it too hard.

Our book club inevitably offers up on non-fiction selection each month. And each month, we seem to choose that one non-fiction book. I love learning about new ideas, or foreign lands, or people's lives. June's book is entitled "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates," by, yup, you guessed it, Wes Moore. Briefly, the story is about two men, with the same name, who grew up on the Baltimore streets. One ends up a Rhodes Scholar; the other ends up in jail for murder. The distinguished Wes Moore learns of his counterpart and starts corresponding with the man in jail. After years of communication, both written and face-to-face, the free Wes decides to write a book to perhaps help other young men who find themselves walking those very same streets.

"The Other Wes Moore" is an intriguing (and easy) read. I love reading the two stories side-by-side, watching the boys grow up, and their stories unfold.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It is well....

I have always loved the hymn, "It is Well With My Soul," and the story behind it. Have you ever wondered, whether, in the darkest night of the soul, you'd be able to sing these words?

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    • It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
I have wondered so many times...and God has been faithful to remind me that no matter the trial or hardship, my deepest need has been met. My soul is at true peace, regardless of my raging circumstances. My sin is no longer mine to bear. He has paid the ultimate price, so that when sorrows roll in, I can rest safely in His unfailing love and comfort.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Beach's Top 10

10. Ocean breezes
9. Lazy afternoon naps
8. Sand castles that are promptly smashed
7. Waves crashing on the sand
6. "Beach" books
5. Freckled noses
4. Eating steamed crabs
3. People watching on the Boardwalk
2. Flip Flops every day, no matter what

AND the #1 top favorite of the beach is.....

1. Ice Cream, funnel cakes, Thrasher's, caramel corn, Candy Kitchen...

What is your favorite "beach" item?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Beach

Free (new) activities in Ocean City this summer:

1. Family Movie Nights. Monday/Thursdays 8:45pm @ 27th St.
2. Concerts on the Beach. Wednesdays 8:00pm @ Division St.

Not sure if we'll be able to attend these events, but what a great idea. O.C. is upping their family appeal and catering to the current economy. What free summer events are you looking forward to in your area?

Monday, May 31, 2010


So this isn't a cookout recipe, but it is one of my favorites. It's great for leftovers, bringing to friends, or entertaining.

The recipe can be found on Real Simple's website.

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

what would you do

Girls' nights always provide riveting conversation. This last one proved no different. Topics of conversation ranged from "the ideal day" to "Arminianism vs. Calvinism." One of the many questions asked was, "If you could have any hobby--money and talent aside--what would it be?"

Em said she'd go to Italy for cooking classes and then somewhere for dancing lessons. Kris said she'd ballroom dance.

I answered, "cake and cupcake decorating." I just think it would be so much fun to be like Duff or the Cake Boss and create intricate and gorgeous cakes/cupcakes.
What hobby would you choose?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My daughter's vocabulary has expanded greatly over the last few weeks. She now calls things by their rightful names and even responds to questions...usually appropriately. For instance:

Me at 11:00 at night: "Isabel, are you ready for night-night?"
Isabel: "NO! NO! NO!"
Me at 1:00 in the morning: "Isabel are you ready for night-night?"
Isabel: "NO! NO! NO!"

Good thing she sounds so cute when she says it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Despite the circumstances, it was amazing to spend time with my sister this past week. Surprise pickup at the airport, dinner at Dad's, playing with chalk, laughing with our cousins, girls' night out, shopping trip, heart-to-heart on Dad's bed.

I have missed my sister these last months. Once she's home in five weeks, I'm not letting her leave the States again. Ever. But I will let her get rid of those HIDEOUS glasses.

Friday, April 30, 2010


It has been years since all of my cousins have been together. I *think* I was in high school still (maybe even younger)?? But, there is no photographic evidence of that meeting. Here is a picture of us girls at Christmas, probably in 1990.And here we are yesterday; how we've changed. I am grateful for cousins who have become friends. Love you girls!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ps 91:5

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.”

Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up his tender mercies; it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.

"Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from thee;
Thou art he, who, never weary,
Watchest where they people be."

--C.H. Spurgeon (from Morning and Evening, E4/22)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Restaurant Review

Haven't done one of these in a while!! Life has taken over and left very little room for adventures that don't include sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or wagon rides. However, last night, Miguel and I escaped for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. I always pick the restaurant (he'd be happy with Bonefish Grill over and over...), and I always pick a new place downtown.

We ended up at Momma's on the Half Shell. We waited well over and hour, since they don't take reservations on the weekends. The bar was packed, so we walked and talked. Long wait wasn't a problem, except at 8:30 we were FAMISHED. We ordered drinks (mojito, long island) and the beer muscles. The mussels were incredible, and could've been eaten as my main meal, easily. Huge portion, hearty, and a delicious sauce. On to the main course. "Pasta of the day" for me: linguine w/ jumbo lump crab and huge shrimp all in a slightly spicy tomato cream sauce. uh, yum. Miguel got the Chicken Chesapeake. Both were huge portions and beyond good...and not just because we were starving. Drinks were good, though if we ever go back, I really want to try their famed Orange Crush. I was just too full to take another sip or bite. Also, no dessert for the same reason. Way. too. stuffed.

While the atmosphere was charming with it's dark walls, upholstered seating booths, all reminiscent of an old Victorian house (minus the eclectic "Baltimore" decor on the walls), the place was loud. I'm talking, lean-in-to-your-partner-and-yell-in-their-ear loud. Which, if you're out to have a good time only, is perfect. Just don't expect the drunk girls at the table next to you to quiet down so you can hold a deep conversation. Yet somehow, we managed. Seating was also a bit awkward. In the upstairs dining area, tables are packed in, so it felt as if we should've held hands with the people next to us as we prayed over dinner. Or at least asked them how their days were.

All things considered, I'd go back for a girls' night or brunch or drinks and dessert. Or anything just to order those beer mussels again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Ever have one of those days/weeks/months where everything seems to be in upheaval? In the midst of much change (and subsequent self-pity), I was reminded yesterday of a few things that are truly enduring. Cherished friendships.

I received an early morning wake-up call from a dear friend. Then, less than 20 minutes later, an unexpected call from another long-distance, enduring-through-the-seasons friend. And to top it all off, yet another "random" phone call from a bosom friend, just to say "hi."

I was able to walk into my day, reminded of God's faithfulness in even the smallest of areas. I am so grateful for enduring friendships. What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

you know you have a daughter....


1. Screaming is a daily part of life. Just because.
2. Baby dolls are used for hugging, kissing, and throwing across the room.
3. You find hair clips in the bathroom, under the couch cushions, and in the fridge.
4. Your "lights" load of laundry is all pink.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

book pt.2

As previously stated, I haven't read much for pleasure lately. Though, I was incredibly inspired by Krista's most recent post to get a serious move on it!!

However, since I do still attend a book club, and have a general feeling of guilt if I do not read the books, I manage to read at least one book every few months...February's book is "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. Brief review: I know it's a classic, but I am honestly not quite sure why. (Is that horrible?!) Perhaps I am missing something-like a deeper meaning to the plot. Or a message behind all of the southern dialect. Yes, that must be it. Like Transformers, perhaps there is more to it than first meets the eye. No one character was spellbinding. No aspect of the plot was riveting. However, I did like significance of the title. While a storm was raging and darkness had fallen, the narrator stated that despite the characters' inability to see any hope in the situation, their eyes were watching God. What a good reminder that in my darkest of circumstances, my eyes must be watching God.

Do you have any insight on the significance of this novel?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Book Love. I think I've let this love die a bit. Between an incredibly busy start to the new year and an incredibly busy toddler, well, reading hasn't been high on the priority list. So, aside from reading recipes, nutrition information on food boxes, and greeting cards from various holidays, I have not read much of substance.

I do, however, spend plenty of time reading with Isabel. The same 5 books over and over and over. And over. Her current favorite is "Dear Zoo." It's a cute story of the narrator who writes to the zoo to send him a pet. Each page has a lift-the-flap picture, detailing what animal is sent. After returning the animals for various reasons, the zoo employees finally get it right and send the perfect pet. I've loved watching Isabel light up as the lion appears. She ROAAAARS right along with me. What books are you currently enjoying with your kids?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

in the kitchen.4

I feel like I make recipes all the time that call for ingredients that I do not have. Most recently, buttermilk (pancakes, cakes, etc). I don't think to buy it, and honestly don't like buying a large container of it, to only use a small portion. Inevitably, the rest would go bad. Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that are easy to make yourself.

Tip#3: Add 1T lemon juice to 1C milk (I use skim). Let sit for 10 minutes, stir, and you have buttermilk!

Friday, February 05, 2010

in the kitchen.3

I always have a hard time deciding what to make for dessert, especially when it is for other people. Cake. Pie. Crisp. Cookies. Ugh. Too many choices. Then I stumbled across the easiest chocolate cake recipe. Butter, sugar, chocolate. How could it not be a hit?? Since I always have the ingredients on hand, it is now my go-to dessert. Miguel described it not so much as a cake, but as, "a really amazing brownie."

Sweet Paul's easy chocolate cake
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
3/4 cup plain flour

Pre-heat your oven to 320F, 160C.
Stir butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Stir in vanilla, cocoa and flour.
Pour the batter in a buttered cake tin (I used a 9" tart pan) and bake for about 30 minutes.
The cake is best if its a little under-baked in the middle, like a soft brownie.
Take out and let cool a little.
serve while still a little hot a la mode or with some whipped cream.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

in the kitchen.2

This is my newest favorite kitchen tool. A microplane zester. I am no longer worried about grating off my fingers on my box grater. This little tool is a gem, and I'm not quite sure how I've lived without it for 29 years! What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Tip #2: Use the zester to turn a clove of garlic into garlic paste.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

in the kitchen

I figured, since I am such a pro at failing in the kitchen, I will do a mini-series on the kitchen. I seem to get all of my useless knowledge from the Today Show. Right around the holidays, they did a segment on "preventing holiday weight gain." I learned something.

Tip #1: You can reduce the amount of sugar in your baked goods by 1/4 and not alter the taste or texture.

I tried it today in banana bread. I actually reduced the sugar by half, and the bread still tastes fab. So, next time you go to measure out your sugar, reduce it by 1/4!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I think this title could sum up the month of January. ha. Most recently, it sums up my baking adventures. My sister-in-law Erika made some very delicious black bean brownies-basically a can of black beans, a bit of sugar, tiny bit of flower, eggs, cocoa powder and well, that's about it. I knew the recipe was simple and I would have all the necessary ingredients. I did not, however have her recipe. And since it was her nap time, I went on-line to search for a good recipe.

What I came up with was certainly NOT good. They were utterly disgusting (though Miguel somehow has managed to eat almost the enter 8x8 pan), dry, ugly and all together disgusting. Did I say that already?

So, instead of posting the recipe for all to see, I will simply admit:


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dog Hair...

...the bane of my existence. Literally. Not exaggerating. People come to our house, and I have to preface a lounge on the couch with, "yeah, we have lint rollers for when you leave." Embarrassing and annoying. Enough to make me want to kill our dog almost daily. It's not his fault that he's a golden retriever. And retrievers shed...a lot. I was ready to just give up and let the hair pile up. It would sort of be like having a down comforter or a feather pillow, right?

Then, last Saturday, Miguel went grocery shopping. He return with a $4 Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair. I'm sold. My life has been changed forever. Now when you get up off my couch, you only walk away with a miniature poodle's worth and not a golden retriever's worth of hair. Amazing, I tell you.

(Note: The product is meant to be discarded once it's full. But, since there was no way I was going to spend $4 every other day, I managed to buck the system. I shoved my index finger in between the rollers and managed to extract most of the hair. Take that Pledge!)

If you need proof, see pictures below. These were NOT altered in any way, and are actual pictures of our couch before and after the Pledge Fabric Sweeper.
(Before the P.F.S. entered my life)

(After the P.F.S. worked its magic)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

getting rid of....

a few things in the new resolutions, but goals. Seems less daunting, at least to me! So, here is my list of "things that gotta go in 2010":

1. Diet Soda. My one a day has been seriously messing with my stomach of late.
2. Three plus trips to the grocery store (aka Wal-Mart) for "just a few things"
3. Clutter in the spare room. Oh, it's taking over the entire house really.

What would you like to see GO in your life?